The Alexander Technique and Posture

By Joan Arnold and Hope Gillerman with Terry Zimmerer

The posture problem
You look in the mirror and you’re not happy with what you see. Maybe your shoulders round forward. Your butt sticks out. Your knees point in. You don’t like your walk. You can’t stand that stoop. Maybe you try to fix the problem by listening to the familiar voices in your head — “Stand up straight!” “Tuck your pelvis!” “Pull your shoulders back!” “Hold your head up!” You try arranging body parts.You tuck your pelvis. You straighten up. It looks better, but feels like so much work.You let go, and there’s the same old posture again. You figure you’re lazy or too tightly wound or out of shape. Maybe you think your posture runs in the family.

How Can the Alexander Technique Help a Computer User?

By Joan Arnold and Hope Gillerman with Terry Zimmerer

The challenges of computer work
You sit at your computer each day, eyes on the screen, hand on the mouse. You’re deeply absorbed in your work or pressured to meet a deadline. For hours, you barely move at all. Late in the day you feel so compressed and tense you wish someone would put you in traction. Maybe your elbow starts to tingle, pain shoots through your forearm or your fingers go numb. Perhaps you ignore the symptoms, just to get the work done.

The Alexander Technique and Asthma

posted in: By Other Teachers, Medical | 0

By Philip Pawley

Asthma is essentially a breathing problem. No, I lie: asthma is not a breathing problem. Asthma is one’s own inappropriate reaction to feeling unable to breathe. This somewhat revolutionary statement (revolutionary to people who don’t know about the Alexander Technique) has important consequences for the treatment of asthma. Before I can consider those, however, I need to demonstrate the truth of what I say: the symptoms of asthma result from a very usual, but inappropriate, reaction to feeling that one is unable to breathe.

The Alexander Technique and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

posted in: By Other Teachers, Medical | 0

By Martin Finnegan

What exactly is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?* Sometimes referred to as ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, it is a term that describes a chronic, debilitating disorder that affects the immune and central nervous system. Typical of its symptoms are a profound fatigue, totally out of proportion to a person’s physical activity and independent of mood, plus a range of other symptoms that can affect any organ of the body. The causes of CFS are unknown. Indeed there appear to be any number of apparent causes and in many cases the onset seems to be linked to a stress to the immune system such as an acute infection, especially viral in nature. After the stress or virus has run its course the symptoms do not abate as you would expect but set in, becoming chronic and are often associated with profound fatigue and feelings of general malaise.

Chronic Pain: How the Alexander Technique Can Help

posted in: By Other Teachers, Medical | 0

by Joan Arnold & Hope Gillerman with Terry Zimmerer

I found the Technique to be so beneficial in alleviating my own condition that I have been referring some of my patients for Alexander lessons for several years. -Howard L. Rosner, MD, Director, Pain Management Service, The New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center New York, NY

The Alexander Technique in Pregnancy and Childbirth

posted in: By Other Teachers, Pregnancy | 0

By Joan Arnold and Hope Gillerman with Terry Zimmerer

The Alexander Technique is useful during each phase of becoming a parent. Study of the Technique gets body and mind working together to unlearn old postural habits, solve movement problems and improve balance and coordination. It helps women understand and compensate for the many bodily changes that happen. And it can help both parents, as they are suddenly called on to lift at awkward angles and carry small, precious bundles, bouncing and cooing for sustained periods.

The Alexander Technique in Natural Childbirth

posted in: By Other Teachers, Pregnancy | 0

By Ilana Machover

This article is adapted from a presentation to the Fifth International Congress of the F M Alexander Technique, Jerusalem, 1996.

Childbirth is a very finely-tuned involuntary process. It is regulated by a series of signals exchanged between the mother’s brain and the rest of her body. The contractions of the uterus are controlled by the secretion of appropriate hormones during each of the three phases of labour: dilation of the cervix, birth, and birth of the placenta. This physiological-chemical process (which also has important psychological aspects) can easily be disrupted by any outside interference. It is frequently observed and well documented that labour may halt altogether when a woman gets emotionally disturbed.

The Alexander Technique For Pianists and Their Teachers

By Deborah Fishbein Adams

Reprinted from Exchange, The ATI Journal, Vol 3. No. 2, 1995
© 1992, Deborah Adams, All rights reserved

A student enters the studio for a lesson in the Alexander Technique. Before her is a chair, perhaps a table and a mirror. The teacher guides the student to the chair, his hands perceptively, gently cradling her head. He says, “neck free, head forward and up.” What does this instruction mean? What is the purpose of this extraordinary event?

The Alexander Technique: It’s Role In Dance Training

By Glenna Batson, PT, MA (Dance)

Dance is a performing art built upon the ebb and flow of muscular tension. Through muscular tension, dancers express their aesthetic sensibilities. The word “dance,” in fact, stems from the Old High German “danson,” meaning to stretch, and from the earlier Sanskrit root “tan,” meaning tension. The building and resolution of tensions we experience in performance touches us deeply — kinesthetically, emotionally, and spiritually. At the heart of a dancer’s training lies the cultivation of muscular effort – its degree, sensibility, precision, refinement. Although dancers train their bodies in many ways, the cornerstone is technique. Dancers would be hard pressed, however, to come up with one succinct phrase that adequately defines technique. Returning the the dictionary, the word technique simply means the “manner and ability with which we pursue a particular endeavor.” What is the “manner and ability” needed to dance?

The Alexander Technique and the Actor

By Meade Andrews & Saura Bartner

The following article describes the authors’ work with the Alexander Technique in relation to acting training. Saura teaches Alexander Technique for actors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island. Meade is on the faculty of the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory in Washington, D.C., and is a recent recipient of the prestigious Helen Hayes Theatre Award. The article is designed as an introduction to the Alexander Technique for the acting teacher and student.

The Alexander Technique and Martial Arts

By Martin Finnegan

How can the Alexander Technique enhance Martial Arts performance?

This was a question that popped into my mind when one of my first Alexander Teachers suggested we work on a Form that I was learning at the time. He admitted right up front that he knew only a little about martial Arts and nothing about the style of Chinese Kung Fu that I studied. But by the end of that lesson I was amazed that although he didn’t know anything about my style or that form, he knew a lot about how to perform it better, more easily and more efficiently. In fact that lesson changed the whole way I approached the form in the first place, making it much more fluid, flexible and expansive. How can the Alexander Technique do this? Because it is based upon conscious movement and provides you with a set of useful tools that are directly applicable to an activity such as Martial Arts.

Practicing Detachment: Alexander Technique and Meditation

By Mike Cross

The fact to be faced is that the human self was robbed of much of its inheritance when the separation implied by the conception of the organism as ‘spirit,’ ‘mind’ and ‘body’ was accepted as a working principle, for it left unbridged the gap between the ‘subconscious’ and the conscious. I venture to assert that if the gap is to be bridged, it will be by means of a knowledge, gained through practical experience, which will enable us to inhibit our instinctive, ‘subconscious’ reaction to a given stimulus, and to hold it inhibited while initiating a conscious direction, guidance, and control of the use of the self that was previously unfamiliar.

The Alexander Technique and Running

posted in: By Other Teachers, Sports | 0

By Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields

The Alexander Technique is a method of becoming aware of and preventing the unnecessary tension we put into everything we do, so that we can learn to function in a more free and natural fashion. It was developed by FM Alexander (1869-1955), and can be applied to sporting activities as well as to everyday living.

The Alexander Technique and Golf

posted in: By Other Teachers, Sports | 0

By Leland Vall

In the December 18, 2000 issue of Golf Plus, a Sports Illustrated supplement, there appeared a story about Jeff Jullian, a 39 year-old PGA golfer who “gave himself back his career” using an “unusual” method called the Alexander Technique. Jullian’s neck and back were in constant pain, causing him to lose his tour card, until he took lessons in the Technique, which he credits not only for alleviating his pain, but also rejuvenating his career.

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